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Member of Bali Nine drug smuggling gang dies in prison

A member of the Bali Nine drug smuggling gang has died of stomach cancer, an Indonesian justice ministry official has said.

Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, 34, was serving a life sentence for his role in trying to traffic heroin from the resort island to Australia in 2005. The group’s ringleaders, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, were executed by firing squad in 2015.

Nguyen – who was rarely in the media spotlight – was also sentenced to death but the Indonesian supreme court later reduced his term to life imprisonment. He died in a Jakarta prison last month but the news was only announced this week.

“Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen died of stomach cancer in Jakarta on May 19,” the justice ministry spokesman Ade Kusmanto said.

Nguyen and two other Australians were arrested shortly after other members of the trafficking gang were detained at Bali International airport. None of the three had drugs on them at the time, but police found 350gm of heroin in a suitcase in their hotel room.

The execution of Sukumaran and Chan sparked a diplomatic row between Australia and Indonesia. The remaining six members of the gang are still in prison.

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